Gopher tortoises can make the best next door neighbors. You rarely see them because they’re often burrowed into the ground. They never play loud music. They live in Palm Coast for the same reasons we do: this is nature’s paradise.
This is a story of Cypress Knoll’s Blaine family. For seven years, Rick, Danielle and Kaiha lived next door to gopher tortoises Todd and Todd, Jr. (lovingly named by Kaiha).They enjoyed watching the tortoises shuffle around, observing and monitoring their security and well-being.
However last year, something went terribly wrong. Danielle fretfully watched out her window as survey posts were planted in Todd’s habitat next door, indicating that a builder would soon be excavating the property. She quickly took action.“I know the City considers the protection of wildlife a high priority, so I was convinced that contacting them for help was the best decision,” she said. It turns out Danielle was correct.
After she contacted the City, staff flagged the property in their permitting system and performed a site visit to protect Todd and Todd Jr. from unintentional impacts during the building process. With protective measures in place, the tortoise family was safely relocated to a more permanent ecosystem with the help of a certified biologist.
“Our citizens are some of our best stewards of the environment”, Denise Bevan, City Administration Coordinator states. “Without their caring and watchful eyes, we couldn’t have success stories like this one about the safety of Todd and Todd Jr.”
The coordinated efforts of a sensitive family and City staff safeguarded one of our precious native resources - an indication that together our community is genuinely rooted in nature.
This narrative is a prime example of our City’s highest regard for the peace, quiet and open air that surrounds us every day: our graceful tree canopies, moving waterways, colorful birds and wildlife that thrive along magnificent trails. Residents are often seen fishing and boating, playing golf or tennis, biking or hiking on sheltered trails.
You’ll find the community reliably supporting events such as May’s Arbor Day, September’s Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup, January’s Christmas Tree Recycling, and February’s Birds of a Feather Fest. We honor and care for our sacred wildlife, much like Danielle, Rick and Kaiha Blaine. This is why so many of us love this place and why rooted in nature has become the signature of Palm Coast’s soul.
As for the Blaine family, they’ll always value the years they watched over their tortoise friends. And Danielle will always call on the City when she needs a partner in nature.
“It is vital that we do what we can to help keep our environment thriving. Showing Kaiha the importance of protecting habitats and the environment, in turn benefits our city and our future. I am proud that protecting nature is an integral part of the city.”